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Evangelists to meet with Dobson, explore ways to address family issues

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–James C. Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, will meet this summer with 25 key leaders in the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and with North American Mission Board President Bob Reccord to discuss key issues families face and ways evangelists can be more effective in addressing these issues.
In addition to preaching salvation, Jerry Drace, newly elected president of the COSBE and an evangelist from Humboldt, Texas, said evangelists need to understand better how to reach families who are hurting.
“The purpose of the meeting is to raise evangelists to a conscious effort that we need to address family issues,” Drace said in a June 9 interview at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The group will travel to Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., in August to spend a full day with Dobson, Drace said.
Drace said he believes evangelists need to concentrate more on specialized ministries to the family and work closely with other Southern Baptists to effectively reach people. Evangelists traditionally are known as being “fiercely independent” and frequently joke about feeling like “stepchildren,” said Drace, who believes cooperation with NAMB and other Southern Baptist entities is necessary if evangelists are to be part of a team effort.
“We as Southern Baptist evangelists really want to tie in to what’s happening in Southern Baptist life,” Drace said. “We really want to be considered part of the family.”
“Holding High the Standard,” a new theme for the evangelist’s group, is indicative of their efforts to hold each other accountable for enhancing the denomination’s view of evangelists, Kenneth E. Hall, pastor of Northside Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga., and pastor advisor for the COSBE, said.
Both Hall and Drace said a covenant of principles upon which evangelists can agree is part of a plan to require more accountability from those wishing to be recognized as a member of COSBE, which currently lists 600 in a directory produced by NAMB.
The evangelists’ group is working in cooperation with NAMB and the six Southern Baptist seminaries to host an annual training session for evangelists and their wives each winter. The 1999 “National Congress for Southern Baptist Evangelists” will be Feb. 1-3 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and feature H.B. London, vice president of
Focus on the Family; expository preacher Stephen Olford; and Bible teacher John Phillips.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan